Famed for its warm and sunny climate, Spain is a popular place to study. In fact, Spain is the top destination for exchange students in the European Erasmus program. It is a vibrant country with an abundance of beautiful scenery, delicious cuisine, and cosmopolitan cities. It also has an important cultural scene, which has produced some of the world’s most renowned artists, such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.
Spain is bordered by France to the north, Portugal to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south and east. It is a relatively big country, being the EU’s second-largest country after France. With its southern location, Spain enjoys some of the warmest weather in Europe. The summer average temperatures are often into the 80s and beyond, while winter temperatures rarely drop below 40.
However, the inland and mountainous areas have larger temperature extremes. The everyday rhythms in Spain can seem quite different from those in America. The Spanish tend to eat later in the day, having lunch between 2-4 and dinner from 8:30–11. Siesta, the practice of sleeping for an hour or two in the afternoon, is still practiced by some but is dying out. Even so, many stores' opening hours reflect the siesta, opening from 10-2 and then reopening from 5-8. It goes without saying that Spanish is the main language in Spain. There are also other smaller languages, such as Catalan, spoken in some regions. Being able to speak Spanish while studying in Spain is a definite advantage, but there are a number of programs taught in English. The tuition fees in Spain are some of the lowest in Europe. There are also interesting housing programs such as "intergenerational" ones that lower or completely remove the cost of housing. These programs work by providing you with low-cost or free lodging in an elderly person’s home in exchange for the company you give them.